By Herbert Lash
NEW YORK (Reuters) – The We Company, parent of money-losing shared office provider WeWork, which last year yanked plans to go public after harsh criticism over its business model and erratic management, is dropping the “we” moniker to revert to its better-known name, according to an internal memo seen by Reuters.
Restoration of WeWork as the official name is the most symbolic effort to date by management installed last year by majority owner SoftBank Group Corp (T:) to focus on its core office-sharing business.
The “We” brand was introduced in January 2019 by WeWork’s co-founder, Adam Neumann, with the aim of broadening the shared office space business to a lifestyle company.
Neumann faced criticism when the company disclosed he had trademarked the brand and received a $5.9 million payment from WeWork for its use.
Neumann, who was replaced as chief executive and stepped off the WeWork board last year after the company abandoned plans to go public, later said he would return the money.
WeWork, which has been slammed by the coronavirus-induced recession like many other businesses, has said it will become profitable by the end of 2021.
Sandeep Mathrani, the new CEO, said in the memo announcing the name change to employees that the move is another step in returning the company to WeWork’s roots.
“We want to be strategic. We want to be innovative. We want to be impactful. We want to be WeWork,” Mathrani wrote.
“We are officially restoring our company name from The We Company to WeWork,” the memo said.
WeWork in August said it had slashed its cash burn rate to $482 million in the second quarter, or almost in half from the end of 2019. The company also said it had obtained a $1.1 billion commitment in new financing from SoftBank.
WeWork withdrew its public offering in September 2019 that looked to value the company at $47 billion and make it one of the year’s hottest IPOs.
WeWork soon entered a tailspin as its valuation fell to less than $8 billion. After a management shake-up it remains enmeshed in lawsuits over a $3 billion tender offer to existing shareholders.
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